A bacterial species that causes chorioamnionitis—an infection of the placenta and fetal membranes that often leads to preterm birth—relies on a gene for metal tolerance to hijack immune cells, suggests a study in mice funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings indicate that strategies to target the gene and its products could eliminate one of the most common causes of preterm birth.
NICHD issues News Releases and Media Advisories to the news media. Spotlight and Research Feature articles explain NICHD research findings and public health issues to the general public. An Item of Interest is a short announcement of relevant information, such as a notable staff change.
Science Update: NIH-funded study in mice suggests bacteria rely on metal tolerance to cause pregnancy-related infection
Director's Corner: Reflecting on the Past and Looking to the Future
This October, NICHD celebrates its 60th anniversary and holds the first meeting of a new task force examining stillbirth in the United States. NICHD Director Dr. Diana W. Bianchi looks forward to future progress toward the institute’s goals of promoting healthy pregnancies, raising healthy children, and ensuring healthy and optimal lives.
Spotlight: Scientific advances from the Division of Intramural Research
The Division of Intramural Research provides fundamental knowledge about the nature and behavior of living systems through basic, clinical, and population-based research.
Media Advisory: SARS-CoV-2 may cause fetal inflammation even in the absence of placental infection
Small NIH study contributes to understanding of COVID-19 during pregnancy.
Spotlight: Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2021
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2021.
Item of Interest: PregSource® Mobile App Allows Access from Anywhere
It just got easier to participate in the PregSource®: Crowdsourcing to Understand Pregnancy research project. The free app allows participants to track their weight, sleep, mood, and other features of their pregnancy in just a few taps.
Science Update: Maternal antibody treatment fails to reduce infant cytomegalovirus infection, NIH-funded study suggests
An antibody treatment in early pregnancy for women infected with cytomegalovirus does not appear to reduce the risk of infection or death among their newborns, an NIH-funded study suggests. The findings contradict several smaller studies on the treatment, known as hyperimmune globulin, that suggested the treatment was effective.
Media Advisory: Drinking and smoking during pregnancy linked with stillbirth, NIH-funded study suggests
Drinking alcohol and smoking tobacco cigarettes throughout the first trimester of pregnancy is associated with nearly three times the risk of late stillbirth (at 28 or more weeks), compared to women who neither drink nor smoke during pregnancy or quit both before the end of the first trimester, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Release: NIH data challenge seeks innovative methods for identifying complication risks in first-time pregnancies
The National Institutes of Health will award up to $400,000 to individuals or groups who design an effective method for analyzing a large data set of first-time pregnancies and identifying risk factors for adverse outcomes, such as hypertensive disorders, diabetes and infection. A total of $50,000 will be awarded to each of seven winners designing the most effective means to analyze the data. An additional $10,000 will be awarded to the top five winners whose methods identify risk factors in disadvantaged populations.
Director's Corner: A Mother’s Day Message: Time for Action to Improve Maternal Health
NICHD Director Dr. Diana Bianchi is joined by NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health Director Dr. Janine Clayton in assessing the growing maternal health crisis in the United States and describing NIH’s efforts to address it.
Media Advisory: NIH calls for greater inclusion of pregnant and lactating people in COVID-19 vaccine research
Pregnant people need to be protected through research rather than from research, the authors contend.
Director's Corner: Including pregnant and lactating people in SARS-CoV-2 vaccine research
As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, SARS-CoV-2 vaccines offer the potential to halt the spread of the virus. Yet, we know very little about the effectiveness and safety of the vaccines during pregnancy.
Media Advisory: Severe COVID-19 in pregnancy associated with preterm birth, other complications
NIH-funded study suggests mother-to-infant transmission appears to be rare
Science Update: Childbirth during COVID-19 pandemic associated with anxiety, post-traumatic stress symptoms, NIH-supported study suggests
Increased stress may interfere with adjustment to new motherhood, mother-infant bonding
Spotlight: Selected NICHD Research Advances of 2020
Read about NICHD’s research findings and activities from 2020.
Science Update: DNA sequencing technique helpful for identifying genetic causes of fetal fluid buildup, NIH-funded study suggests
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have used a rapid DNA sequencing technique to identify gene variants in roughly a third of cases of nonimmune Hydrops fetalis (NIHF), a serious condition in which a fetus develops fluid buildup inside the abdominal cavity, lungs, or other parts of the body. The findings suggest that the DNA sequencing technique, known as exome sequencing, could be used to provide information unavailable with current genetic testing methods.
Science Update: NIH-funded study identifies genetic causes of stillbirth
Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have found that of 246 stillbirths, about 6% likely resulted in mutations to single genes. Of these, 9 cases resulted from gene variants implicated in stillbirth and 6 resulted from variants that had been suspected in stillbirths. The researchers concluded that the genome mapping method, called whole exome sequencing, could potentially provide information for counseling families of stillborn infants and to inform medical care of future pregnancies.
Media Advisory: NIH-supported study to track prevalence and impact of SARS-CoV-2 among pregnant women in low- and middle-income countries
The study of approximately 16,000 pregnant women will continue 12 months after childbirth and compare maternal, fetal and newborn outcomes of participants infected with the virus to those of pregnant women who have not.
Media Advisory: NIH-funded study to investigate pregnancy outcomes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
Researchers to evaluate medical records of 21,000 pregnant women
Media Availability: NIH maternal mortality workshop to address conditions that increase the risk of life-threatening pregnancy complications
Program will include lessons learned from caring for pregnant women with COVID-19.